Working in a research facility isn’t what it used to be — and as it turns out, that’s a very good thing. A new trend in the design of research facilities and laboratories has emerged that recognizes the intensely social nature of scientific research. The National Institute of Buildings Sciences notes that the most successful scientists are familiar with the work of their colleagues and “display an astonishing capacity to adopt new research approaches and tools as quickly as they become available. Thus, science functions best when it is supported by architecture that facilitates both structured and informal interaction, flexible use of space, and sharing of resources” (emphasis ours).
Several new research facilities exemplify this new model of socially focused research and demonstrate how architecture can better support it (as well as the natural environment). Perkins+Will recently completed the second phase of the National Institutes of Health’s John Edward Porter Neuroscience Research Center, the largest facility of its kind in the U.S. The space—which is tracking LEED Gold certification—was designed to encourage collaboration and communication; utilize flexible laboratory architecture that can change over time; and accommodate diverse research approaches from cell culture to computer science.
Below, two other examples of this new trend. Who knew research facilities could look so good — and be so green?